The Government is seeking feedback on an exposure draft of the proposed exploratory drilling for oil and gas regulations under the Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf (Environmental Effects) Act 2012. The exposure draft is designed to give interested parties an early indication of what the key provisions of new regulations are likely to look like, and to provide an opportunity to comment on them before they come into force.
The information provided explains the exposure draft process, the non-notified discretionary classification and how to make a submission.
This information has been provided in addition to the Government’s earlier consultation in August 2013. Information about the proposals is available in the discussion document Activity Classifications Under the EEZ Act, and in the EEZ Act questions and answers.
The Act manages the environmental effects of activities in New Zealand’s oceans. The legislation aims to protect our oceans from the potential environmental risks of activities like petroleum exploration activities, seabed mining, marine energy generation and carbon capture developments.
The Resource Management Act regulates natural resource management activities on land and in the territorial sea out to 12 nautical miles. Fishing and shipping are also regulated by other Acts. The EEZ Act does not override these other controls that already exist in the EEZ. Beyond 12 nautical miles New Zealand has historically had no means to assess and regulate the environmental effects of many other activities. The EEZ Act fills that regulatory gap and manages the previously unregulated adverse environmental effects of activities in the EEZ and continental shelf. Before the EEZ Act was passed there was a gap in our domestic legislation.
The EEZ Act sets up a framework for managing the effects of activities in the EEZ and continental shelf. The text of the Act can be found on the New Zealand Legislation website.
Consultation on the Government’s discussion document Managing our Oceans, which outlined initial proposals for regulations, closed in June 2012. The Government considered submissions and made final decisions on proposals for permitted activity regulations in December 2012. The Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf (Environmental Effects—Permitted Activities) Regulations 2013 were promulgated and came into force on 28 June 2013. The regulatory impact statement and Cabinet paper (PDF, 9.39 MB) for the final proposals for permitted activity regulations are available online.
The EEZ Act allows the Minister for the Environment to classify activities as:
The classification will depend on a number of considerations outlined in section 33 of the Act, including the environmental effects of the activity, the importance of protecting rare and vulnerable ecosystems, and the economic benefit to New Zealand of an activity.
Last updated: 12 December 2013